Ever wonder why Spanish romance songs always talk about el corazon? English lyrics, by contrast can talk at length about “being in love” without ever referencing the heart. Does the latin temperament know something we don’t about human nature?
The heart's energetic field
I have recently become fascinated by research on the energetic qualities of the human heart and am having a lot of fun relating this to human relationships in general and the Tango in particular.
Did you know that the heart emits a powerful electromagnetic field which can be detected and measured several feet away from a person’s body?
Did you know that even when you’re not consciously communicating with others, our physiological systems are interacting in subtle ways with others close to us?
Did you know that your physiological responses sync up with your partner’s during empathetic interactions? (read: tango?)
The HeartMath study, The Electricity of Touch: Detection and Measurement of Cardiac Energy Exchange Between People, documents that “when people touch or are in proximity, a transference of the electromagnetic energy produced by the heart occurs…. the care, compassion, love or other positive emotion (is) not only transmitted throughout an individual’s body, but (is) transferred externally as well to people in close proximity…”
“New research shows the human heart is much more than an ancient pump that sustains life... The heart also is an access point to a source of wisdom and intelligence that we can call upon to live our lives with more balance, greater creativity and enhanced intuitive capacities.” Practices such as therapeutic touch, holo energetic healing, healing touch, chi gong and reiki among others “are based upon the assumption that an exchange of energy occurs to facilitate healing....” www.mathheart.org
This excites me, particularly as it relates to tango. Other than with my wife, there is no other context in which I find myself in such close physical proximity with others. As the above references indicate, this is “heart territory.” My experience has always been that dancing close to another has touched inner nerves and brought to the fore issues that are central to my heart’s core.
Dance dynamics embody relational concepts of trust, vulnerability, security, intimacy - the list goes on. When I think or talk about the tango embrace, I think aligning heart to heart rather than chest to chest. In an embrace, you invite your partner to share not only a dance but also your psychic and emotional energy. By the same token, we are effected on a deep psychological level by the energy that our partner brings to the dance.
To me, the appeal of tango has always had less to with technical proficiency than how the dance effects and changes me at the heart level. I have had deeply stirring, satisfying dances with complete novices and deeply disturbing dances with skilled partners. Colour me sensitive, but then it appears that we can all be painted with the same brush.
A sacred trust
Tango requires that we enter into the heart zone of another. I consider holding someone in such a close, intense, focused intimate connection a sacred trust. Preparing for the Tango is not only about learning steps, it is also about preparing one's heart. At the end of the tanda, the quality of the dance can be summed up in the answer to the question...